Watson joins Nicklaus, Player as Augusta starter

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Tom Watson will join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as one of three honorary starters at this year's Masters (AFP/Stacy Revere) (Stacy Revere)
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  • Jack Nicklaus
    Jack Nicklaus
    American golfer
  • Gary Player
    Gary Player
    South African golfer
  • Tom Watson
    Tom Watson
    American golfer (born 1949)

Two-time Augusta champion Tom Watson will tee off alongside Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as one of the three honorary starters at this year's Masters, tournament organisers said Tuesday.

The 72-year-old, winner of the Masters in 1977 and 1981, will get the 86th edition of the major under way on April 7, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said.

Watson has a long history with the Masters, making his debut in the event as an amateur in 1970 before making 42 consecutive starts at Augusta between 1975 and 2016.

As well as his two victories, Watson finished runner-up on three occasions and posted 15 top-10 finishes in total.

His 58 sub-par rounds at Augusta are second only to Nicklaus, who holds the record with 71.

"Augusta National in April is one of my favorite places to be," Watson said in a statement. "I am greatly honored to join my friends and fellow competitors, Jack and Gary, as an Honorary Starter in this upcoming Masters."

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